Gardener’s almanac (May 18)

05/18/2013 7:20 AM

05/18/2013 7:30 AM

Are we caught up yet? – For the most part, the forecast calls for lows in the 60s next week, a far cry from the recent days when we were having a hard time seeing a high in the 60s. Our fears for going from winter to summer were at least temporarily realized. The soil should be nicely warming. Assuming we’re on schedule …

Planting calendar, plus a pepper tip – Beans, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, okra, pumpkins (wait until late June for a Halloween-timed harvest), sweet corn, squash, tomatoes. One reader recommends Fooled You peppers, which he’s bought at Hillside Feed & Seed in the past. It’s a jalapeno without the heat.

Warm-season grasses – If you’re planning to put in a warm-season lawn this spring, you can plant seed now. Otherwise wait until June to plant vegetatively by sprigs, plugs or sod, extension agent Rebecca McMahon says. Buffalo grass seed is slow to fill in, so you might want to go the vegetative route with that, she says. Otherwise, the variety you want to plant also has something to do with what form you choose to plant. Some are available only by seed, others only vegetatively. For zoysia, K-State recommends only Meyer, and it’s only available vegetatively, she says. As with fescue, sod is the fastest to establish and also the most expensive, she says.

A new look entering Botanica – As you enter Botanica now, you will see that the sheltered entrance has opened up as ground has been broken for a new visitors center and Chinese garden. The visitors center is slated to open in April 2014.

Cabbage worms – Be on the lookout for cabbage worms – fuzzy, elongated green worms that come from eggs laid by the white butterfly that can be seen flitting around the plants, Ward Upham of K-State says. “Early control is essential to reduce injury,” he writes in Horticulture 2013. “BT (Bacillus thuringiensis) and spinosad (Borer, Bagworm, Leafminer and Tent Caterpillar Spray; Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew) are effective organic products that are labeled for this pest. BT can be found in Dipel, Thuricide and other similar materials. Direct sunlight deactivates BT quickly, so it is helpful to spray late in the day or on a cloudy day. Conventional insecticides such as carbaryl (Sevin), malathion and methoxychlor are also effective but will kill natural enemies of these pests, as will rotenone, an organic product. Be sure to hit the underside of leaves where insects feed. Note that hitting the underside of leaves is easier when using a dust applied with a duster than when using a liquid spray.”

Moving houseplants outside – We seem to have reached the point where nighttime temperatures stay consistently above 55, meaning the houseplants can go outside. “Choose a spot that has dappled shade, is protected from the wind and is close to water,” Upham writes in Horticulture 2013. “A porch or a spot that receives shade from trees or buildings will work well. Putting houseplants in full sun will cause the leaves to photo-oxidize or sunburn because the leaves have become adapted to low light levels inside the house. Where possible, sink the pots into the ground to help moderate root temperatures and reduce watering frequency.

“If you have a number of plants, dig a trench 6 to 8 inches deep (or deeper if you have larger pots) and long enough to accommodate all of your plants without crowding. Place peat moss under and around the pots. Peat moss holds water, helps keep the pots cool and reduces evaporation from clay pots. About every two weeks, rotate the pots a quarter turn to break off any roots that have penetrated the peat moss surrounding the pot and to equalize the light received on all sides of the pot. Water as needed. If the potting soil is dry a half-inch deep in the pot, it is time to water.”

Project Beauty spots – Project Beauty has announced the recipients of its 2012-2013 Beautification Awards, a few of which are on this weekend’s master-gardener garden tour. The residences and their owners are: 7604 W. Shady Lane, Lee Ann Sack; 932 Toh-N-Hah Trail, John and Linda Courtney; 1311 Whitetail Court, Mary Sue Smith; 8940 E. Funston Court, Carol Taylor; 1340 Dry Creek Drive in Derby, Don Brace; 1817 N. Wellington Place, Jerry and Sue Streit; 227 N. Ridgewood, Leslie Foster and J.T. Tapler; 5709 N. Sullivan Road, Bill and Kathy Ethridge; 325 S. Chippers Court in Andover, Darik and Stacy Roll; and 742 Surrey Lane in Maize, Hugh and Linda Nicks. One business received an award: 3701 W. Maple, Caring Hearts Veterinary Clinic.

Garden events

Hostapalooza – A celebration of hostas and gardening sponsored by the Wichita Hosta Society will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 25 in the Extension Center at 21st and Ridge Road. Admission is free. There will be plants and other garden stuff for sale and speakers.

Late-iris show – The Wichita Area Iris Club will have its last show of the spring with a display of late-blooming irises from 1 to 5 p.m. May 26 at Botanica. The show usually features beardless iris, but this year the flowers will primarily be tall bearded iris. Admission to the show is free; if you want to go into the gardens, Botanica admission will be charged.

Gardening in Kansas in the old days – Melvin Epp will be at Botanica on Wednesday to talk about how his great-grandfather replicated his West Prussian garden on the Butler County prairie in the 1880s as recounted in Epp’s new book, “The Petals of a Kansas Sunflower.” Copies of the book will be available for purchase. The lunchtime lecture, at 12:15, is included in Botanica admission.

Birding at Botanica – The monthly walk through Botanica to look for birds will be Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m. The guided walk is included in Botanica admission.

Kelley Hunt concert – Botanica will kick off the summer with an outdoor concert by Kelley Hunt at 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15, or $13 for members.

Horticulture-challenges workshop – A workshop covering a number of topics in horticulture and landscape architecture, from water policy to vegetable production in high tunnels, will be June 4 at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. Registration is $85 if postmarked by May 24, $130 after, with some discounts available. For more information, call Stephanie Larimer at 405-744-5404 or e-mail stephanie.larimer@okstate.edu.

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